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PROLOGUE

Icecrown Citadel
Fall of the Lich King

"Tell them that the Lich King is dead....and Bolvar Fordragon...died with him!"

Tirion Fordring nodded. He watched as the Frozen Throne was encased in a tomb of ice. "Bolvar's Tomb.", thought Tirion grimly.

"Now, go! Leave this place, and never return!"

Tirion turned his back on the throne and picked up the Ashbringer. He slowly began to walk out of the Throne room and onto the balcony.

Night had fallen on Icecrown. The remaining forces of the Alliance, Horde, and Ashen Verdict were still gathered at the foot of the citadel, mainly to return to their bases. In the sky, red dragons flew.

Tirion lifted the Ashbringer and looked at his blurred reflection in the blade. When the Scourge War began, back in the Plaguelands of Lordaeron, his hair was a steel gray. Now it was snowy white.

He thought of Arthas, how he looked as he lay dying the spirit of his father, King Terenas, over him. One thing he would never forget as long as he lived: Arthas crying as he breathed his final breaths...He had cried...before saying "I see....only darkness...before me." Somehow, someway, Arthas had been redeemed.

"Tirion Fordring." said a voice in his head. Fordring turned around. A massive red dragon has appeared in front of the balcony. Tirion recognized the dragon. She was Queen Alexstrasza, the Life-Binder. Tirion nodded back. "The Skybreaker has arrived to return you to Lordaeron. Come. Ride on my back." Tirion climbed onto the great dragon's back. She flied down the breadth of the Citadel and landed at Deathbringer's Rise - where Dranosh Saurfang has been raised as a Death Knight to serve the Lich King, now a temporary landing dock. Tirion saw that Varian Wrynn, Jaina Proudmoore, Rhonin, Darion, and both Brann and Muradin Bronzebeard were waiting for them. When they landed, Alexstrasza trnasformed from her dragon form into that of a beautiful high elven priestess.

"So, Tirion....is it over?" asked King Varian.

Tirion met each and every one of their eyes. "Yes."

Varian exhaled. "At long last, the nightmare ends." Muradin nodded. "For all of us." added Rhonin. "You are a brave man, Tirion."

Darion Mograine turned his gaze to the Ashbringer, then looked to the sky. "At last, father, you can rest in peace...." he said, more to himself than out loud.

Tirion walked over to Darion and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Alexandros would be proud of you, Darion. You're a hero."

"You're both heroes." Jaina stated.

"Tirion, Darion," continued Varian, "your services, not just to the Alliance, but to all of Azeroth, will not go overlooked. Both of you are heroes and shall be rewarded. You have my eternal gratitude." Tirion smiled. "You have mine as well." added Rhonin. "And that of all of Dalaran."

"If only Bolvar were here..." Varian added as an afterthought. Tirion looked at Varian. "If only you knew..."

"Varian, Jaina....let's go home. I think we've see enough of this place to last a lifetime...and neither Muradin or I have seen good ol' Ironforge in years...." piped up Brann, who turned around and started towards The Skybreaker.

"I agree with Brann." replied Muradin. "Let's go home."

Varian and Jaina started towards the gunship. "Are you two coming?" Jaina asked Darion and Tirion.

"No, they still have business here. They're staying in Dalaran tonight." replied Rhonin. Jaina nodded and she and Varian dissappeared on the gunship. Darion, Tirion, Rhonin, and Alexstrasza watched it pull away.

Alexstrasza looked at Tirion. "Are you okay, Tirion? You look like you have something on your mind." Tirion turned around. "I do. As Arthas lay dying, he seemed to have....somehow escaped the influence of the Lich King, of Ner'zhul. He seemed to feel remorse. He asked the spirit of his father 'Is the nightmare over?'. And....he was crying."

"I never thought I would see the day," murmured Rhonin, "that Arthas Menethil, the greatest traitor in our entire history, would EVER show remorse for everything he has done to our world."

"I guess then it is true," added Darion, "that even in the most evil of men, there is still." He took off his familiar horned helmet, and for the first time, Tirion saw Darion's face: Exactly like his father's, but with dark brown, a clean face, and the cold blue eyes typical of a death knight. "I do still wish that none of this had ever happened, then maybe my father would still be alive, and maybe I would, and Renault...."

"So do all who live to see such times, Darion, but that is not for them to decide." Alexstrasza explained. "All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you. There are other powers at work here, believe it or not, besides those of evil. Arthas was meant to become the Lich King, and Arthas was meant to die...and apparently, Arthas was meant to be redeemed." She paused for a moment. "Yet, as always, life...goes on..."

The four of them looked up into the sky.


Halls of the Black Temple, Shadowmoon Valley, Outland
One Month Later

The Black Temple was silent. Several years before the mighty fortress had been the stronghold of the crazed Illidan Stormrage. But after Illidan fell at the hands of Akama and Warden Maiev Shadowsong, The Black Temple had been relatively vacant, save for the members of the combined forces of Aldor and Ashtongue Deathsworn, who now maintained it, and the naaru K'ure.

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